Some observations and takeaways from State Assembly elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Assam in May 2021 – from an original Facebook post. The observations are in the form of informal reflections but they point towards certain developments that might open up new, anticipated spaces for the struggle for a democratic India.
Federalism: The Election verdicts of May 2, 2021, from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Kerala scream ‘federalism’. The election results are so vastly different in the State Assemblies and Lok Sabha. The election outcomes of Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana, West Bengal, Kerala are important examples of this phenomenon.
India is a country that naturally lends itself to federalism and greater state autonomy. While the Congress, by and large, didn’t allow for it, the BJP is hell-bent on a deeply centralized structure and crushing any aspiration for regional autonomy. If progressive forces don’t take up the question of federalism and state autonomy, then it runs the risk of slipping into the hands of crude chauvinists and xenophobes like Shiv Sena of yesteryears or secessionists like Khalistanis.
The Delhi Traffic Police says women make better drivers:
“The number of women drivers is just a fraction of the number of men who drive. But even proportionately, women are involved in far fewer accidents and incidents of rash driving than their male counterparts,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg.
Statement by COALITION OF MUSLIMS AND TAMILS FOR PEACE AND COEXISTENCE
The coalition of Muslims and Tamils is a Sri Lanka based organization-comprising Muslim and Tamil identified persons who as a general principle are committed to pluralism and social justice in all its forms. Specifically, we are committed to the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Tamils in the country, particularly in the north and east, and to a just and equitable solution to the ethnic conflict.
Two Years On: No War but no peace for women still facing the consequences of the war
Women in the north and the east of Sri Lanka have undergone severe hardships during the war, including the loss of loved ones, family’s support structures, livelihoods, houses and also a loss of life and dignity. While there have been numerous changes announced by the Government the situation for women on ground, however, has continued to be challenging. It is sad since the end of the brutal war women’s lives have not seen a dramatic transformation over the last two years and they have continued to face the basic challenges of safety, shelter and basic facilities. It in this light that we wish to put forward a few issues that these women have been facing within the broader context of life in the north and east for the communities living there. We have chosen to highlight these issues because of their gravity, the State’s involvement in the same and the inability of women to seek justice in such cases owing to the lack of an effective civilian administration, security threats and the lack of a concrete remedy within the local legal system. While we write of the issues relating to women, they raise broader concerns impacting the families and communities. The incidents and the report cover only the Northern and Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. Continue reading Two Years On: No War but No Peace for Women still facing the Consequences of the War – CMTPC→
Are there honour killings in Kerala? No, perhaps. However, like in everything else, Kerala has a way of telling the world that things can be done differently. Well, it appears that we can continue to claim another kind of exceptionalism — in national evils. Kerala has its own special way of ‘doing’ caste and patriarchy as well, which researchers and activists have forcefully argued recently. It is possible that the deadly consequences of stepping out of community-ordained boundaries in love and marriage can visit Kerala in ways that we cannot really detect with our usual instruments.
[This was a note titled ‘We Still Need Feminism’ which I wrote on March 31 on my Facebook page; I thought it relevant to re-post it here as it appears that an ‘honour killing’, of a sort — an ‘honour suicide’ — may have actually surfaced in Kerala. More on that in the next post]
In JNU, last week, some of us were noticing how there seemed to be a notable increase in the numbers of students, both women and men, from the Hindi heartland. It is interesting, said one of my friends, that the deterritorialised university spaces in Delhi can no longer back off from directly confronting the tensions through which these societies now live through. “Look at that girl,” she said, pointing to a sprightly young woman, a bright student who I’d briefly met earlier,”she comes from a family that’d kill her if she married out of her gotra. And she is involved with a young man who’d not even of her region. We must fear the worst and prepare to confront evil.” For a brief moment, in my fright, I thought, well, at least we don’t have honour killings in Kerala. Honour kidnappings, yes, but I haven’t heard of too many honour killings. Maybe honour killings are still on their way here (like dowry deaths were, in the 1980s, when I was growing up into a young woman). We have some time to rally against them. Continue reading Young Women in Kerala : Between Empowerment and Death? — Part I→
About 300 Afghan women, facing an angry throng three times that number, walked the streets of Kabul on Wednesday to demand that Parliament repeal a new law that introduces a range of Taliban-like restrictions on women, and permits, among other things, marital rape.
‘The young women stepped off the bus and moved toward the protest march just beginning on the other side of the street when they were spotted by a mob of men.’
‘”Get out of here, you whores!” the men shouted. “Get out!”….It was an extraordinary scene. Women are mostly illiterate in this impoverished country, and they do not, generally speaking, enjoy anything near the freedom accorded to men. But there they were, most of them young, many in jeans, defying a threatening crowd and calling out slogans heavy with meaning.’ Read the full story by Dexter Filkins here.